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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(4):1431-7.

Luteolin inhibits proliferation induced by IGF-1 pathway dependent ERα in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells.

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Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Drug Discovery, College of Life Science, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China.


The growth of many breast tumors is stimulated by IGF-1, which activates signal transduction pathways inducing cell proliferation. ERα is important in this process. The aim of the study was to investigate relationships in vitro among inhibitory effects of luteolin on the growth of MCF-7 cells, IGF-1 pathway and ERα. Our results showed that luteolin could effectively block IGF-1-stimulated MCF-7 cell proliferation in a dose- and time- dependent manner and block cell cycle progression and induce apoptosis evidenced by the flow cytometric detection of sub-G1DNA content. Luteolin markedly decreased IGF-1-dependent IGF-1R and Akt phosphorylation without affecting Erk1/2 phosphorylation. Further experiments pointed out that ERα was directly involved in IGF-1 induced cell growth inhibitory effects of luteolin, which significantly decreased ERα expression. Knockdown of ERα in MCF-7 cells by an ERα-specific siRNA decreased the IGF-1 induced cell growth inhibitory effects of luteolin. ERα is thus a possible target of luteolin. These findings indicate that the inhibitory effect of luteolin on the growth of MCF-7 cells is via inhibiting IGF-1 mediated PI3K-Akt pathway dependent on ERα expression.

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